Everybody in Pittsburgh is reporting this morning that a deal has been struck to build a new arena that should keep the Penguins in the city.
Whether it's a deal that's good for taxpayers, well, that'll be up to all those folks to figure out. They've made a habit in that fine city of paying the fare for pro sports teams by financing new stadia, and really, that's their business. Doing it through a combination of getting into bed with gambling interests is peculiar municipal policy but, again, their business.
But the only way this is a good deal for the hockey and the NHL is, after more than two decades of lurching from one crisis to another, this finally brings stability to a franchise that came into the league on the heels of the Maple Leafs winning their last Stanley Cup.
Yep, it's been that long.
There was one bankruptcy. Then another. Then this long, drawn out relocation soap opera that was essentially based around the problem of replacing the NHL's oldest rink.
While fans in Pittsburgh have successfully painted themselves as long-suffering, faithful types, the reality is that the Penguins have been overly blessed with some of the greatest superstars in the history of the game over the past 23 years.
First Mario Lemieux. Then Jaromir Jagr. Now Sidney Crosby.
During that time, the Leafs, to name one franchise, haven't had a single player the measure of any of those three, with Mats Sundin the closest and, for a brief period of time, Doug Gilmour.
But even with these incredibly talented players and two Stanley Cups in the early 1990s, it has never been a sure bet in Pittsburgh that hockey would flourish.
A big part of that was ownership, to be sure. But the fans are partly responsible, and they sure stepped up to the plate lately by selling out 16 of the last 18 Penguin games.
Now they just have to do that consistently over the long haul, whether the Penguins have a great team or have a lousy team.
The uncertainty in Pittsburgh, meanwhile, isn't all over with the pending announcement of the new arena deal.
After all, who is going to own this franchise?
In theory, Mario Lemieux and his partners could simply retain ownership, having now achieved was they said was critical to the survival of the team.
But Lemieux has said publicly he just wants out. Moreover, it's hard to imagine there will be a better time to finally get his money out of the Penguins after being forced to roll the monies owed to him through his playing contract into an equity position with the franchise.
If Lemieux doesn't stay, then new ownership becomes a variable, and having lived through the tumultous, curiously financed Howard Baldwin years, Penguin fans know how much of a variable that can be.
But the Pens will stay and cities like Houston, Kansas City and Las Vegas will have to wait for expansion, which is, sadly, on the horizon.
Pittsburgh, to be sure, is at least an American city where the game is played and loved. Many Canadian minor hockey teams, both girls and boys, have been journeying south to Pittsburgh in recent times to participate in hockey tournaments, a cross-pollination effect which can only raise the standards of hockey in Pittsburgh.
So that's a good thing, that all the pieces are now in place for hockey to survive in a city where the game is actually played.
But whether its ownership or whatever, let this be the last peep of franchise uncertainty we hear out of that particular town for a long, long time.